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Exiting UN Envoy Says Iraq, Syrian Conflicts Merging

Martin Kobler, the special UN envoy to Iraq, answers journalists' questions during an interview at his office in the international zone of central Baghdad in late June.
The outgoing UN envoy to Iraq says Iraq's rising violence is linked to the conflict in neighboring Syria as the "battlefields are merging."

Martin Kobler told the UN Security Council on July 16 that Iraqi armed groups are increasingly active in Syria.

Kobler also said the last four months have been among the bloodiest in Iraq in the last five years, with nearly 3,000 people killed.

Looking back on his two years in Iraq, Kobler said "major bloodshed" was averted by relocating an Iranian exile group that opposes Tehran's clerical regime to a new camp, where security remains a problem.

He welcomed Germany and Albania's agreement to resettle over 300 residents, and appealed to all UN member states to take in the more than 3,000 other members of the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters